Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Microsoft SharePoint Team has just announced a major release to the SDKs - version 1.2 of each. The full details are here: http://blogs.msdn.com/randalli/archive/2007/08/22/just-published-major-update-to-the-moss-and-wss-downloadable-sdks-8-22-2007.aspx

This is wonderful news - not only will it make developing to the object model more understandable but there are numerous samples and, best of all, a BDC editor tool! Check this page out:

The Business Data Catalog Definition Editor provides a visual tool for creating an Application Definition for BDC in MOSS 2007. Features include:

  • Underlying XML is abstracted by the design surface and properties window
  • Drag and drop web methods, tables, or views to create line of business (LOB) connections.
  • Entities and methods are created automatically from database metadata and WSDLs.
  • Additional method instances can be added to further enhance the database or web service connection.
  • Method instances can be tested from within the tool, enabling incremental development of LOB connections
Background

Currently, writing an application definition to connect the BDC to a LOB system is a manual process. This requires an understanding of both how the LOB system is configured and what must be included in the XML to satisfy the BDC. Having a tool to simplify this process not only lowers the initial knowledge threshold for administering the BDC, it also lessens the required work of the user (such as testing, making modifications, etc.).

[...]

Highlights
  • Tool supports databases (SQL, Oracle, OLEDB, and ODBC) and web services
  • Drag and drop design surface for selecting DB tables or web methods:
  • Metadata is automatically extracted from databases by dragging and dropping tables
  • Web Services require a few additional steps to completely configure the connection
  • Users can import and export Application Definition XML files
  • Users are able to test method instances incrementally from within the tool
  • The tool is not required to run on a web front-end
  • Associations are created automatically when foreign keys are selected; they can also be created easily for web services by adding an Association method instance

Objectively speaking, the SDK and tool release just made life 100% easier (32.4% of the time)1. You can't argue with those numbers!

The Microsoft team has also stated that it has doubled the resources working on the SDKs, which means we can look forward to even more improvements in the future. They're obviously listening to the community -they even make that point in their announcement - and it's very welcome indeed.

1 Actual results may vary.

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